How did the time go by?
In the book “Stillborn: the Invisible Death” one woman wrote that after your baby dies, all that you can look for to help the healing is Time. But sometimes, it seems as if Time has stood still.
What a stabbing statement. I can really feel her pain, and totally relate to that feeling of seeming to be at the same place after such a long time. Sinking into the quick sand of time and grief. Trying to move ahead, and perhaps indeed moving along, and then suddenly, in a swift moment, that grief and pain hit you again and it seems you have never moved. The wound is fresh open and bleeding again and you again wonder if indeed death has occurred and if you really lost a child to Life, and you re-experience, all over again, that fateful day, and roll and tumble in that angry ocean of emotions again.
And then, you start over.
Am I really still at the same place? Not really. Actually, absolutely not. Especially if you get philosophical. No one thing in the universe is ever the same. This is what Impermanence is about. Nothing is forever. Not even pain, and grief, and being hurt. So, there is Hope. So things will die, rot, decay, fade away, change. But it also means we are never forever grieved and hurt. We can heal. There is Hope. Impermanence is a beautiful thing. Although you wish for a double-standard: let my loved ones remain with me forever; let us always be so happy, young and content; but let all the bad things past.
But that is not how it works. It’s a package deal. You take everything.
And from the Buddhist point of view, that is why we suffer- because we do not realize and accept that it is a package deal. We cling on to the good, refusing to see that there is no good without the bad and evil. So when we experience the bad and evil, we heave and weep and curse and swear, not realizing that without the good, we would never realize the evil and darkness that we experience.
All such things, and things that I am reading in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “No death, no fear” right now, helps me understand many things. Helps me come to terms. Yet I also feel resistance. Many of these things are really not difficult to understand on an intellectual level. Not at all. There are no complicated equations and formulas or technical terms. Thich Nhat Hanh explains them all in simple words and with straight-forward examples. You can find the Truth, and deep understanding, in a flower. The secret is to not just understand it with your mind but to totally give in to the Truth with the whole of your Self, your heart, your soul. I am working on that right now. (But my ego keeps wanting to come on the ride. That is the problem. Ego.)
And so, five months after, I am still reeling. And I am not really surprised, since I am in no way enlightened.
The other day R got off the phone with his grandma and said, “Actually, she asked about you. Asked how you are doing…. if you are over it…” And I immediately hissed, “What do you mean over it? Over what exactly? It’s only been five months, what is she expecting?” This rudeness, insolence, and lack of appreciation for a concern that comes from an elder. I asked R what he replied and he reported saying that I am better and that Time will help.
Yes…. “Time will help.” The cliche that everyone uses and makes my hair stand. I am not sure why. I know there is truth in it but I refuse to accept it. And I think it is because I do not wish to believe that I will ever be over it.
I am afraid, when I am “better”, then I will forget. Forget Ferdinand, my son. Forget that he was once a very vital part of me; throbbing inside, curled up inside, kicking and squirming inside. The joy he brought; the beauty he attracted to me; the sorrow of having to let him go. Yes, even though I know this scar is so deeply branded there is no way it is going to vanish, I am actually afraid that I will forget. Or perhaps, I am afraid that others will think that I forgot! That is so unthinkable… …
And, like how some other women planning to try again are afraid that when they try to conceive, and succeed, then people will think that they are “over it”, and cease to care; and they will forget about her child who died; I am afraid too. They are happy that friends and family rejoice over the new baby that is coming, and get excited, but they also feel sad that it has to overshadow the loss, that is still there, and never gone. They wish others will still remember and say the demised baby’s name.
Impermanence is right. I know this blog will also change…. as we prepare to try again, perhaps in a few months, I have contemplated if I should document that journey here. I did not want to because I do not feel like keeping three separate blogs, and frankly, I cannot see myself going through another pregnancy with Ferdinand’s spirit and memories absent. But I admit it also feels somewhat wrong to be documenting a different pregnancy here- ditto the feelings of the other women one paragraph ago. It is as if I invade this sacred space if I write about another pregnancy that is not him. Yet, how can this new pregnancy not be Ferdinand? It may well be his soul again. And, I remind myself that I wanted to read a blog like this, about what happened; and how people feel thereafter– the grief, the hurt, the finding joy again; the hope, the healing, the hurting again; the lingering pain, and, of course- do they ever get pregnant again, and what is the outcome? I wanted to read something like this. So I write this. So I decided I will continue my journey here. It may kind of change the nature of this blog, but only on the surface. I know deeply, and within, that it is something I cannot forcibly separate.
This is interesting because in the beginning of “No death, no fear” (I am still working on this book. Simple writing, deep wisdom. I am going to blog about this when I am done reading.) Thich Nhat Hanh shared that before he was born, his mother had a miscarriage. And he asked his mother, “Am I me? Or am I my brother?” This book talks about no birth, no death; no coming, no going; not the same, and not different; no being, and no not-being. It is very intriguing to me. Because I start to see all the connections. I see Ferdinand in my children and I will see Ferdinand in the next child. He was always here and will always be.
Even if it is futile to wish, I still wish. I still wish Ferdinand is here. I still wish he had not died. It is because I am selfish. I wish I did not have to go through that pain. I wish we are still not reeling and still trying to function normally, after these five months. It may have been the better for him, but selfishly, and solely for me, I wish he had not died. I yearn to have him to hold and to nurse and to love. The last days I walk around with a heavy heart, tears threatening to drown the world, but I could not summon the tears to come. They could not come. I still clench my fists and wish that it. did. not happen.
But it did, and perhaps, for good? Dare I say this? For good?!
I know I have learned deep lessons. Because I hurt like hell, I also laugh more deeply. We are even closer as a family. But to think of the price tag, I hate. Would I not have learned all these if Ferdinand had not died? I truly, humbly think I could have. This price was not fair, and I did not have the chance to negotiate.
But, though it often feels as if he is gone, he is not. Still here. Had always been, and always will. Him in me, and me in him; till the end of eternity.
Five months. Still reeling; still learning; still hurting; still walking.
I love you, Ferdinand.You are never forgotten; you know that.